Regional focus to new family relationship services

Catholic agencies have won contracts to provide services for couples before and during marriage as well as for separating couples at ten new regional centres around Australia.

CSSA CEO, Frank Quinlan, said in a statement that the opening this week of the second round of Family Relationship Centres will help to provide urgently needed information and support for families experiencing relationship difficulties.

Catholic agencies will provide services in ten of the 25 new Centres in Ballarat, Rockhampton, the Gold Coast, Port Augusta, Geraldton, Midland, Geelong, Nowra, Wagga and Greensborough.

"The Family Relationship Centres will provide support for couples before and during marriage and will also help separating couples focus on the interests of children through mediation rather than litigation," Mr Quinlan said.

"Separating parents are required to use Family Relationship Centres to try to reach a parenting agreement, leaving court as a last resort. The new arrangements should free up the Family Court for more urgent cases where people are at risk of domestic violence and abuse.

"These new centres are good news for families in need across Australia, particularly those families in regional centres who may not have access to the services taken for granted by many Australians," Mr Quinlan said.

Speaking at the opening of the new Family Relationship Centre in Wagga, Mr Quinlan said Catholic agencies are known and respected in their local communities and will continue to provide services in areas that larger providers often find less attractive.

Catholic agencies in Rockhampton, the Gold Coast and Port Augusta are the sole provider of those services. Ballarat, Geraldton, Midland and Geelong will operate as the lead agency in each of those consortiums and Nowra, Wagga and Greensborough will operate as partners in consortiums led by other community groups.

"Catholic agencies have been providing services in four of the fifteen Centres established in July last year. With the opening of this second round, Catholic agencies are now providing Family Relationship Services in 14 of the 40 centres nationally.

"Our agencies look forward to tendering in the third and final round for these services." Mr Quinlan concluded.

Family Relationship Centres Open Today (Catholic Social Services Australia, Media Release, 2/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Social Services Australia
Family Relationships (Australian Government)

Greens attack family centre contracts to Catholic agencies (CathNews, 25/1/07)
Catholic Welfare says relationship centres good news for families (CathNews, 5/4/07)

6 Jul 2007